Planning a round the world trip that you’ll remember and likely talk about forever is a pretty exciting thing to do! The planning process is as much a part of the experience as actually living it, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t mega daunting.
There’s A LOT to consider… lots of choices to make and lots of things to remember. Luckily, you’re listening to the experts in putting together these types of trips with a huge team of people – all travellers themselves – who are here to help you. It’s why they do what they do. They’ve been there, done that, and they’re enthusiastic about sharing their own knowledge and experience with you.
So to give you a little head start with the planning, we’ve grilled a selection of them for their top tips to kick off your trip of a lifetime.
Speak to the locals and embrace new cultures as much as possible.
Suzanne Ruffles, Exeter
Embrace and respect the culture of the country you are visiting. Yes, it may be completely different that home, but isn’t that the whole point of traveling? Keep an open mind, learn, and always be respectful to the locals of the country you are visiting – a little goes a long way!
Jessica Aitken, Victoria
Flights go on sale 10-11 months before you’re planning to travel, they are almost always cheapest when they first come on sale. So the sooner you start planning, the more money you will have to spend on fun activities later.
Lisa Crowther, Marketing
Make sure you have your first couple of nights accommodation booked before you land in a new city, that way you know exactly where you have to get to when you arrive. You can still keep our plans flexible if you want to move on after, but there is nothing worse than getting off a long flight, then having to cart around your heavy backpack around while you try and find somewhere to stay – especially if you arrive late at night!
Chris Willbourne, Islington
Don’t go on your trip without travel insurance. There are lots of cheap insurances out there, but don’t forget you get what you pay for. If it sounds like bargain it’s more than likely because you’ll never see a payout if the unforeseen happens. My advice: Invest in your health while your away; you’d pay the money for your car insurance, what makes you less valuable?
Adam Scally, Clapham
Invest in a good backpack before you go and tighten at the waist so it rests as lightly as possible on your shoulders.
Oh, and one more… if a taxi driver from Las Vegas asks you to flip a coin to go double or quits on the fare find out how much it will be before making a decision!
Investing in a good backpack for your travels is a smart idea.
Martyn Bone, Guildford
Take a head torch. It’s invaluable in most situations but especially when the toilet is just a hole in the ground & you’re caught short in the middle of the night! Imagine holding toilet roll in one hand, torch in the other & still having hands free to ‘prop’ yourself…. all the time concentrating on your aim!
Rowan Coombe, York
Use our STA Travel Cashcard for large purchases, or for paying for you and friends, so when they pay you back in local currency your getting the best exchange rate!
Simon Brandish, Norwich
Fund a longer trip by working along the way! Working Holiday Visas in Australia and New Zealand are a great way to break up your trip and give you the chance to earn those extra £££’s to pay for the next part of your adventure.
John Flowers, Ealing
Go to as many places as possible! A lot of airlines offer stops en route to their destinations. For example, with an Emirates ticket you can stop in Dubai, Bangkok and Sydney on the way to Auckland!
Add a stopover in Dubai, and other amazing cities, into your trip to maximise your experience.
Tom Mckee, Guildford
Get off the beaten track every so often. Meeting other travelers and partying is great and a lot of people would argue that the popular places are popular for a reason, but if you want to experience something more real, you have to get away from the crowds.
Talk to the locals, eat away from the tourist restaurants, search for that hidden gem like your own deserted beach or a view that none of your friends will have ever seen. It’s all part of the experience and you never know what you might find, embrace it (and make sure you tell your Travel Expert all about it when you get home!).
Jayne Dunne, Liverpool
Buy open dated vouchers in advance for those must do activities. For example, Whitsunday Sailing Packages, Sydney Bridge Climb, Sky Dive. This way you don’t have to know when you want to actually do the activity but know you have paid in advance for it and will not miss out. Once its paid for, you have to do it and it’s already budgeted for so no hidden extra costs whilst you’re away.
Mark Reynolds, Belfast
Buy a Micro Light towel for your travels. They dry super quickly compared to a normal towels, are easy to pack and are essential when you are hostelling and backpacking around the world.
Zara Watterson, Belfast
Speak to as many fellow travellers as possible. Find out where they’ve been, what they’re doing now and where they’re off to next. It can really help you make big travel decisions of your own and it could save you money if you end up joining them on the trip as you split the costs. It’s also fun fun fun!
Sara-Louise Helm, Reading
Learn the language. Even just a few words. Getting special treatment, like extra time at toilet stops on the chicken bus and local restaurant reccommendations, just because you’ve made the attempt to speak to the driver in shockingly broken local lingo is well worth the effort!
Random conversations about skateboarding in Guatemala City or the politics of Cuba guaranteed.. And people will always give you credit for trying.
Dave Hearns, High St Kensington
Hire a campervan or motor home! It will combine travel and accomodation into one expense and give you the freedom to get off the beaten track. If there’s a group travelling together it can also work out significantly cheaper than booking individual flights/trains/buses as well as hotels/hostels!
Hire a campervan to keep your costs down and your plans flexible.
Alison Leggett, Glasgow George Street
Pack your bag, zip it up, sit back and look smug, then open it back up and take half of it out again.
You will never need all of the stuff you’ve packed, and you will want to save some space for the nick nacks and souvenirs you pick up along the way. When I packed my first backpack I think I forgot that other countries sell toothpaste… 3 tubes was a bit excessive! A light, well-organised backpack makes for a happy traveller.
Sophie Newbold, Southampton
Book an adventure tour. It’s an awesome way to meet new people and see cool places you wouldn’t necessarily find if you were on your own. And it’s a great way to budget as all the accommodation and transport has been paid before you go.
Matthew Stubbs, York
I would always do a little research on where you are going, so it isn’t a complete culture shock when you get there. I’d mix up tours and independent travel so you get a taste of both. It may be a culture shock but it is important to broaden your horizons, get off the beaten track and get out of your comfort zone – you won’t regret it!
Lucy Bolton, Leeds Vicar Lane
Book in hostels that have breakfast included, it’s always nice to have at least one decent meal a day if you are travelling on a budget (and you can always sneak a sandwich in your bag for lunch!)
Chloe Bass, Guildford
Save costs on phone calls back home (begging for more money) by getting a global SIM Card. It works in loads of countries and will work on any unlocked phone – even iPhones which use a microsim.